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Brown's Ranch Road Trail - MSPN
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mini location map2012-02-14
45 by photographer avatarFLYING_FLIVER
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Brown's Ranch Road Trail - MSPNPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 14 2012
FLYING_FLIVER
Hiking6.50 Miles 1,274 AEG
Hiking6.50 Miles   5 Hrs   12 Mns   2.17 mph
1,274 ft AEG   2 Hrs   12 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I guess I should call this hike "Browns Ranch Plus 3". I had four goals on this hike. I wanted to see the remnants of Browns Ranch, find the GRAN Azimuth Benchmark , hike up Goldie Brownie Butte, and finally, bushwhack up Cone Mountain. I accomplished all four.

The hike begins at the end of paved Alma School Pkwy (North). Eventually the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve will have a trailhead there. The first part of the hike is down a trail that once was unpaved Alma School Rd, crossing E. Lone Mountain Rd, and then on to the area of the remnants of Brown's Ranch (AKA DC Ranch or Upper Ranch). Brown's Ranch was quite a big enterprise in its day.
Two excellent articles tell the story. The second article is info from a relative of the owner.
BROWNS RANCH 1
BROWNS RANCH 2

Browns Ranch area still has the remains of the main house, tanks, wells, and many corrals. It's a good look at part of the Phoenix valley's ranching history. The desert is very gradually reclaiming the ranch grounds.

On the grounds of Browns Ranch lies the GRAN Azimuth Benchmark, which is the azimuth disk for GRAN Trinagulation Benchmark located 2.18 miles east, atop Little Granite Mountain. The surveyors established both in 1946, while Browns Ranch was in full swing as a cattle ranch. I had hiked up Little Granite Mountain on a previous hike and found the triangulation benchmark, so now I've found all the related disks.

Immediately southwest of Browns Ranch is Goldie Brownie Butte. It's known by other names, but I like this one. The second Mrs Brown was called Goldie, and "Brownie" is what they called E.O Brown, the owner of the ranch. There's a trail up to the top of the butte, and there is a comically huge mail box up there, used as a grand summit-log holder. There's also a geocache up there, (and atop Cone Mountain) if you're so inclined. Great views are all around the butte.
I took a different route down Goldie Brownie Butte, and headed over to Cone Mountain. Both of these (the butte & mountain), are of volcanic origin.

Cone Mountain looks like a pointy snow-cone. When you are approaching Cone Mountain for the bushwhack up, try to find a place "up" without all those Buick-size boulders. Actually, some are much bigger, and they seem bigger yet, on the sides of such a tiny mountain.
Cone Mountain also has the tiniest top of any mountain I can imagine. The summit can't be more than 60 ft by 50 ft, if that. Great views from the tiny top though.
After feeling like I was balancing on the head of a pin, I bushwhacked down from Cone Mountain a different way, but still avoided the larger of the Buicks (er .. boulders).

This was another nice close-in hike that is in an area that will soon become very busy with casual hikers, so hurry-up and give the area a whirl.
Flora
Flora
Saguaro
_____________________
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost
J.R.R.TOLKIEN
HAZ Member
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